Q: Semi-famous relative passed away.
While family was occupied with final arrangements/grieving, a third party filed for licensing to the name and image my relative went to extreme lengths to protect in life. So now essentially this person owns my relative. The family does not have the financial resources for a court battle. We simply wish to prevent our loved one from being exploited for profit by a person who has absolutely no right to anything to do with our family. What can we do about this?
A: My understanding is that California has strong laws that protect the Right of Publicity (right to exploit one's fame for famous people) and Right to Privacy. It would be good to get advise from a California attorney familiar with these 2 torts. The laws may allow you to collect attorney's fees as part of the damages. It will be worth the family's while to at least have a consultation with such a lawyer so they better understand their rights. Good luck.
Stephen Zemanick agrees with this answer
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